Reduce time to find records and ensure compliance with privacy laws and data regulations.
Before 2015, East Gippsland Water faced a scenario familiar to many businesses and government bodies around the world – a growing volume of data, rising storage costs, and difficulty finding information quickly.
Locating information involved searching network and desktop drives. This included numerous hours spent sifting through documents created in previous decades by several other water corporations and shire councils, which later merged with East Gippsland Water.
Although the corporation had used Micro Focus Content Manager since 2009 to store and protect important records, it didn’t know if there was other data valuable to the organization that wasn’t being protected. A lot of data hadn’t been identified, says Iain McDougall, East Gippsland Water’s Manager of Information and Technology. “Half of the data wasn’t known. There was data everywhere,” he says.
Important records were stored in spreadsheets, databases, and other ways, but they could also be buried within email conversations or in audio recorded during presentations. These files used valuable storage space, even though it wasn’t necessary to keep them all.
One person was responsible for finding important information within all this data – a task that could take up to half a day. When important information was found, there was no easy way to protect it from accidental deletion or from unauthorized access. East Gippsland Water also didn’t have a way to quickly supply information in response to freedom of information requests.
The lack of a digital content management system was hampering day-to-day operations. East Gippsland Water uses nine separate water supply systems and delivers services over an area larger than 8,000 square miles. This requires careful management of pipes, wastewater infrastructure, and treatment plants valued at millions of dollars. The corporation must also plan for environmental change to ensure reliable water supplies in the future, and takes part in projects aimed at reducing landfill and achieving other environmental goals. It must also provide five-year budgets to the government. To achieve this, it needs easy, rapid access to information.
All this must be achieved while keeping water and sewerage bills as low as possible for tens of thousands of residents. This places pressure on East Gippsland Water to operate efficiently.